Today we’re featuring a FANTASTIC study abroad program provider named GREEN.
(Global Renewable Energy Education Network!) GREEN is a very unique provider as they create hands-on experiential learning programs in clean tech and sustainability. Their twelve day programs are hosted in the epicenter of EcoTourism, Costa Rica!
There’s also another reason we love GREEN. They are a startup company run by smart, savvy, young entrepreneurs like us and they’re participating in the 2012 MassChallenge. Please vote for them here!
Abroad101:Can you give us the elevator pitch for your company?
GREEN transforms the traditional study-abroad model by providing universities with customized educational experiences in clean tech and sustainability. Classrooms are brought to reality through exclusive access to clean energy facilities and sustainability projects in Costa Rica, the epicenter of renewable energy. By providing unique experiential learning programs, GREEN serves as a career accelerator that empowers future generations to break into one of the fastest growing industries. The organization bridges the gap between traditional textbook learning and meaningful real world impact.
Abroad101:How did you come up with the idea for GREEN?
GREEN was founded by three students at Rutgers University and a visionary sustainable architect from Costa Rica. The program started as a twelve-day educational adventure tour allowing students to gain hands on experience in clean tech while exploring rain forests, swimming in waterfalls, and soaking up the sun. As the epicenter of renewable energy, Costa Rica provided the perfect educational infrastructure to see technology in action while participating in sustainability projects, which made this Latin American country a world leader in EcoTourism. GREEN was designed for students, by students, with academic guidance from industry visionaries and sustainability experts. Since then, GREEN has served over 150 students from around the world and has been adopted as a flagship global learning program by a number of leading academic institutions.
Abroad101:Why do you think study abroad is important?
Study abroad opportunities are in many ways similar to the first day of college. We spend our lives learning within the walls of our hometowns, while college is the first time most are able to live on our own. Studying abroad takes that one step further by allowing students within the most developmental stage of their life to live, learn, and work in a foreign country. The perspectives gained while taking a plunge into the global environment and exploring extraneous lands, cultures, and businesses is vital to being able to find yourself and prepare for the next step in your career. GREENprovides short-term experiential immersion programs in the niche field of renewable energy and sustainability. Most students with course intensive academic curricula, including engineering, business and policy, are unable to study abroad for an entire semester or a year. GREEN is the perfect solution that provides hands on experience, cultural immersion, service learning and career acceleration in the span of a fun, fast, action-packed 12-day period.
Abroad101:What makes GREEN stand out from other study abroad providers?
GREEN was a program built by students, for students. The wants and needs of each student are met and exceeded because GREEN students have a voice in how the programs proceed in the future. Upon returning home, GREENstudents transition into our Alumni Network where they can stay in touch with The GREEN Team, as well as any student that has participated in the program, while gaining access to job and internship resources. GREEN Director of University Ventures and Head Counselor, Joelle Zerillo, quotes, “I can drive across the country and back with a home to stay in every state because of our alumni!” The short term nature of the GREEN Program allows students to pack experiential learning, adventure, culture and service into a fast-paced and exciting program without sacrificing their time in school. The program is open to all majors, creating a truly interdisciplinary learning environment which is essential for creating real world innovative solutions. Furthermore, the GREEN Network reaches beyond the actual program by placing students into competitive jobs and internship programs, providing green certifications, and serving as a catalyst between students and their university, municipal administration, and the corporate world.
Abroad101:What experiences abroad have you had?
Costa Rica is the epicenter of renewable energy and sustainability, with over 80% of the country’s energy consumption provided by renewable sources. It is the only place where you can drive around to five commercially harnessed forms of renewable energy. Standing on the balcony of the home base hotel, students enjoy the solar rays of the beaming sun (solar), as the wind turbines circle on a distant ridge (wind), volcanoes peak up behind those ridges (geothermal), sugar cane plantations grow through the valleys (biomass) and the vast waters of Lake Arenal capture our eye (hydroelectric).GREEN students have often cited their program as “the best experience of their life” and leave Costa Rica informed, engaged and inspired to make a positive impact in the world of clean energy and sustainability. For some students, who have never been abroad, GREEN is a perfect gateway for international engagement and a passage towards global citizenship. The program serves as an platform to support further learning, community impact and accelerated career development.
Abroad101:How do you think MassChallenge will help GREEN realize their goals?
The people who personify The GREEN Team all have one thing in common: vision. Each of us envisions GREENbecoming a company with many extensions, like a wind turbine and its numerous blades. This shared vision illuminates one main theme – students making a conscious decision to create a GREENer tomorrow. MassChallenge will help our organization realize the monumental goal of rebranding the word “green” to create massive changes in industry, government and modern society. Most importantly, our young team of passionate people hopes to learn from, and contribute to, the high-energy collaborative atmosphere of the MassChallenge accelerator program. By surrounding ourselves with like-minded visionary entrepreneurs we hope to engage in cross-sector collaboration to help each other create the socially conscious businesses of tomorrow. The dedicated team of mentors along with resources make MassChallenge a dream come true for young and aspiring companies seeking to make a huge impact. In our case, that means transforming the education model for clean tech and sustainability by instilling passion, values and creativity into our growing global network of students.
Our recent partnership with Abroad101 is a perfect example of cross-sector entrepreneurial collaboration sparked by the MassChallenge accelerator. Having simply attended the MC Launch Event in Boston, our company has already seen numerous advancements and developed new partnerships with exciting potential. If the partnership with Abroad101 is any indication of the positive “magic” that happens during the MassChallenge accelerator, the future for the companies accepted to participate must be blindingly bright! GREEN hopes to be a part of that!